Ask the Name Lady

Ask Now

Am I Wrong To Change My Name?

My name is spelled Melanie, which is pronounced MEH-luh-nee, but my parents pronounce it mi-LAH-nee. After 30 years of correcting people, I'm ready to legally correct. I work with the public and I'm tired of the confusion. My folks are against it and feel they made no mistakes because some unknown librarian confirmed the spelling.

Please help! I'm I wrong for legally changing my name? And what's the correct spelling?

- Melanie, for now

This Unknown Librarian sounds like an object of faith, an untouchable authority your parents cling to even in the face of 30 years of overwhelming evidence. Has any librarian ever been granted such exalted status?

Your parents believe, of course, because they want to believe. We all become deeply attached to the names we give our children. After 30 years as mom and dad to a Melanie, it's hard for your parents to let go of the spelling -- and all too easy for them to take your practical decision as a personal reproach. But the plain fact is that in American English, Melanie is reliably stressed on the first syllable, with an "eh" vowel sound.

Perhaps your parents' mysterious librarian was from another country. Or perhaps he or she was simply making a game effort to answer an unanswerable question: "What is the 'correct' spelling of the girl's name pronounced "mi-LAH-nee"? There is no "correct" spelling, because it's not a traditional name. Milani, though, is a surname related to the familiar Milano, and should be pronounced the way you want.

As a grown woman, you have plenty of experience living with YOUR name, and every right to want its sound and spelling to match. To soften the blow for your parents, explain that you're not rejecting the lovely name they chose for you. You're just helping the public to pronounce it right.

Comments

January 28, 2013 4:02 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I agree that letting your parents know you love your name, you just want everyone else to get it right might be a good way to approach it. Or, you could simply not tell them & let them continue to spell it how they want (which they might do anyway). I mean, how often will your parents need to see any of your official legal documents? I'm thinking probably not very often-if at all.

The bottom line is, your parents gave you a name that they lovingly chose for you. But once they gave it away it became yours to do with as you see fit.

January 28, 2013 4:07 PM
By Juli (not verified)

I had a friend in junior high named Melany, pronounced [mə 'lɑ: ni] (roughly meh-LAW-nee). She was from Indonesia. Unfortunately I lost track of her during high school, so I can't ask her about her experience with her name -- back then, I thought hers was the "normal" pronunciation, having never met a Melanie.

People have all sorts of misconceptions about name spellings; this becomes especially apparent if you start dabbling in family history and genealogy. Perhaps if you find someone in your family tree whose name is recorded five different ways in four documents (they're pretty ubiquitous!), you can convince your parents that you're not actually changing your name, just helping everyone get it right.

January 29, 2013 3:09 PM
By WordChazer (not verified)

I have a married name that many can't pronounce. After five years of marriage, I have become used to the fact and proud that people will often remember me as 'that woman with the unpronounceable name'. I like to be memorable! If you're happy to stand out in the cause of having your name spoken correctly, Milani is a lovely, feminine, pretty name. You may find yourself spelling it for some people, but at least that spelling fits with the pronunciation your parents gave you. And as for the name spelling changing across generations: oh yes. My mother has a French name, but it is only ever pronounced correctly in France. In the UK it has a totally different spelling and pronunciation, and she doesn't like that much.

January 29, 2013 4:44 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

It is your name and you have to live with it, so no you are not wrong. Remind them that you are not actually changing your name, just the spelling so people do not mispronounce the name that chose for you. They always have the option to spell it Melanie on emails and cards (if oyu are ok with that). They would only need to use Milani for legal documents.

January 30, 2013 12:07 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

just change the Melanie to MeLanie on your name tag and people will get it right and mom and dad are happy-er

January 30, 2013 1:18 PM
By Heidi (not verified)

I think Milani is a good spelling suggestion to get the right pronunciation. I wouldn't do MeLanie as the above poster suggests as most would probably read that as Mee-Lan-ee.

January 30, 2013 3:14 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I have to admit that my first guess at the pronunciation of a name spelled "Milani" would be "mee-LA-nee," because of Italian. "MeLanie" just looks like a typo.

January 30, 2013 3:42 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I'd see MeLanie as Melanie with an accidental upper case L.

Milani seems to be the most obvious spelling. At least in the US, it would match how most people's pronounce Milan and Milano.

January 30, 2013 4:40 PM
By Rowan (not verified)

I have a friend named Meilani. It's pronounced may-LAH-nee, like Leilani with an M. It's not quite mi-LAH-nee, but closer than MEL-a-nee.
Melani, Milani, Milany, or Melany would all work (although I'd have a tendency to pronounce Melany the same as Melanie).

January 30, 2013 5:05 PM
By hlaredzz (not verified)

I say go for it, too. I had a co-worker named Corinne whose parents pronounced it KOR-reen. For the 3 years we worked together, our supervisor never stopped calling her Kuh-RIN. I don't think she did it on purpose - she didn't even seem to notice that the rest of us called her KOR-reen. That was get really old to live with, if you ask me.

January 30, 2013 5:53 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

There's no reason for you to even tell your parents that you changed the spelling legally. They're not going to be asking for a copy of your birth certificate, drivers' license, marriage license, voter registration, etc.

I changed my name completely almost 10 years ago, and I still haven't told my parents.

January 30, 2013 8:54 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I'm originally from South Africa and in Afrikaans they pronounce it mi-LAH-nee. I was horrified when I dad came to visit us in Australia and kept calling his Aussie travel agent agent mi-LAH-nee instead of MEH-luh-nee. He would not accept that there is another way of pronouncing it! Maybe our parents should meet! lol

January 31, 2013 7:18 PM
By tiktok (not verified)

I changed the spelling of my first name so that other people would pronounce it correctly - mine has an EH sound where most people in the area I live in say AH instead.

My mother is fine with it, because the way she sees it, I still have the name she gave me - I just made it so that other people use that name when they talk to me, too.

February 2, 2013 2:40 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

If you really want to legally change your name to a spelling people will correctly you could try "Millanie". Or you could go by a nick name, Millie", perhaps.

February 5, 2013 3:57 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I hve spent 40+ years trying to convince people Laurie is not pronounced the same as Lori. Change it!

February 8, 2013 9:58 PM
By Heather (not verified)

"I have spent 40+ years trying to convince people Laurie is not pronounced the same as Lori."

Good lord, I did not know those names were pronounced differently! Though I might use a longer vowel sound for Laurie. Can you give the pronunciation for them in case I ever meet you or another Laurie/Lori?

Definitely change your name, Milani! It's such a lovely pronounciation and your parents should be proud you love the name they chose. My husband has a long and complicated name that is very common and easily pronounced in his country, but it's a bomb in the US. He is legally changing his full name to the nickname he more commonly uses anyways. I don't feel bad about people not pronouncing his name correctly here though. My name is super common in the US, but they slaughter it every time in his place! I guess we're even. :)

February 11, 2013 5:52 PM
By Allison (not verified)

Why not just start spelling it differently but not change it legally? Changing it legally could be a HUGE hassle...for years. You could still legally be "Melanie" on your drivers license, passport, birth certificate and credit cards ... but just always write your name "Milani" or whatever phonetic spelling you like. And if you get pulled over for speeding or whatever, who cares if the police officer mispronounces your name? My mom goes by a nickname (Sally) that is very different than her given name (Mary). It is not on any of her identification cards, but everyone at work and church and everywhere calls her Sally, writes it that way, etc.

March 5, 2013 10:32 PM
By Beth (not verified)

Once upon a time, I met a girl named Pilar, pronounced PILL-er. Every time she told people her name, they'd say, "You mean Pilar (pee-LAHR), right?" Apparently her parents had gotten it out of a baby book without bothering to figure out how it was pronounced.

To me, Melanie pronounced Mu-LAH-nee in the U.S. is like Andrea pronounced Ahn-DRAY-uh - a somewhat plebian name Frenched up. Far better to be Milani and ditch the assumptions people may have about your parents' (or your, in the case of poor Pilar) inability to pronounce things, or their pretensions.

April 16, 2013 6:40 AM
By aadi (not verified)

nice blog thanks for sharing this thanks keep it up thanks!!
GSP RushFit

April 27, 2013 4:34 AM
By raspberry ketone diet (not verified)

hanks for sharing this thanks keep it up thanks!!

May 3, 2013 5:43 AM
By hair growth vitamins (not verified)

sharing this thanks keep it up thanks!!

May 13, 2013 11:32 AM
By Fayleigh (not verified)

There's a name called "Meliney" I think it's very pretty and it may be a good alternative spelling. When I first saw it , I thought of Me as in "mi" but not Mel.

Good luck and no I do not think it's wrong to change your name. Especially when you're an adult.

I did my first legal name change at age 9.

tada!

March 31, 2014 3:19 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Further development of quality registry area included in the national health project. See also the discussion of national medical quality registers in the introduction of Chapter 732 Regional health. robertsontechlondon

April 3, 2014 7:28 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Perhaps this Joe has the same situation that my grandfather had. He was a Jr on every legal paper but he did not share his father's middle name. As a matter of fact David Jr did not have a middle name at all. Nike bag

April 4, 2014 5:44 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Then there are general "Editor's Pick" articles which get the most views. Those stories have the ability to be seen by all 175 million members (plus the two new people signing up every second). Videos Porno Gratis

April 6, 2014 2:51 AM
By content (not verified)

Contatto con i induce. Non aspettare troppo a lungo fino a quando la depressione rovina la tua vita e la tua carriera! Allergie sono la causa principale 6a di malattia cronica negli Stati Uniti. Temple Run game

April 6, 2014 7:05 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My sight no more seemed up, my head bowed evidently to the rain gutter. This is not because it is on the road that we should ignore the desire.

April 25, 2014 3:11 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Online flash games is the most popular source of people for enjoyment and you can play latest online games like flappy bird online game

April 26, 2014 9:26 AM
By vickey (not verified)

flappy bird game online is free to play. It is very interesting online game. You really like the game.

April 26, 2014 9:28 AM
By esther (not verified)

flappy bird game online: it is very easy and addictive online game.

April 27, 2014 6:41 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

There is no "correct" spelling, because it's not a traditional name. Milani, though, is a surname related to the familiar Milano, and should be pronounced the way you want. streaming films

May 6, 2014 4:19 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Well, it turns out that Boreanaz Bergmans agree: they have officially swapped out Bardot for Bella. this

May 7, 2014 2:51 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Timepiece observe notice observe imitation as well as hublot imitation. Welcome to have a look. They are all cost-effective and with amazing top top quality. browse around this site

May 13, 2014 12:49 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

This is something that one of my beginning Zen instructors liked to say. As I said before, this is the “upside. buy vine followers

May 13, 2014 5:43 AM
By subway surfers (not verified)

online subway surfers game is very addictive online game. Its a running game. You run as far as you can and passed the hurdles. Get more points to score board.

May 15, 2014 4:58 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Thanks totally agree with this article and just want to say that the
article was very good and very informative article. I ensure reading. about top agents

May 16, 2014 3:14 AM
By shimon haber (not verified)

Since you work in public it is OK to change it. I know many examples of people like you working as independent article authors, movie critics, any sorts of extensive-ranging creators, whose works have got published in several distinct journals, and has changed their name. - Shimon Haber

May 22, 2014 1:39 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

This is very educational content and written well for a change. It's nice to see that some people still understand how to write a quality post. download pdf ebooks

May 23, 2014 9:29 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

In later times, we have seen the Manic Street Preachers, Catatonia, Super Furry Animals and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci; the recent two groups being prominent for bunches of their tunes' words being in Welsh. go to my site

May 24, 2014 10:20 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

There is no "correct" spelling, because it's not a traditional name. Milani, though, is a surname related to the familiar Milano, and should be pronounced the way you want. setup greenhouse

May 25, 2014 7:47 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

In fact, her miniature is what leads Creature the creature to identify William, while Clerval says: ‘Poor William! […] Dear lovely child, he now sleeps with his angel mother!’ energy price

May 26, 2014 7:48 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I submitted this image to Granta because I felt this subject is incredibly relevant in our current time of economic hardship. Privation can bring out the best in people but sometimes fear can also bring out the worst. For me, racism will be part of a number of issues I want to address in a project. go here

May 29, 2014 12:03 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Fifteen moments later, a light-blue Bmw came barrelling down the generate, dirt raising behind it. A dapper man with a complete go of neatly-trimmed white locks got out and said as he stepped toward me, ‘Hello, I’m Wayne Master.’ Teamspeak

May 29, 2014 12:10 AM
By faddsds (not verified)

For me, racial discrimination will be aspect of a variety of problems I want to deal with in a venture.

May 29, 2014 1:35 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I hadn’t even seen the lady, we’d approved by her so easily.) ‘Get this guy Where’d you get your permit, asshole A box of Party cracker Jacks’. click here

May 29, 2014 9:08 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I hadn’t even seen the lady, we’d approved by her so easily.) ‘Get this guy. how to get flights to australia

May 30, 2014 12:07 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

You probably get into my interest about this history 'Chain Letters' by Big Harp. I was looking. home improvement contractors

May 30, 2014 6:03 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Well with your permission allow me to take hold of your RSS feed to keep updated with drawing close post.Thanks a million and please continue the enjoyable work. click here

June 2, 2014 2:01 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

If you're feeling the lack, you're in a unique position to apply for a legal name change with few practical hassles. That would also set you up to pass on your full, complete family name to a Joe Smith III. gutschein drive now

June 5, 2014 3:11 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

So, not understanding who to tell, she known as at unique the responding to of "Over there if I'm there" , the problem of Daniel Mermet on Italy Inter. ihackz.biz

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.